“The loss of such high numbers of innocent lives at sea resonates strongly with the Irish experience of the ‘coffin ships’ during the time of the Great Famine” – Bishop Crean
With no end in sight to the migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, Bishop William Crean, has called for special prayers at Mass in the Diocese of Cloyne this weekend for all involved in the Mediterranean refugee crisis.
Bishop Crean said, “Almost every day we see in the media heart-breaking images of refugees fleeing from hunger, from war, from other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for them and their families in Europe. The loss of such high numbers of innocent lives at sea resonates strongly with the Irish experience of the ‘coffin ships’ during the time of the Great Famine.
I welcome the compassionate, humanitarian response of the Irish Naval Service, many of whom have family connections with our diocese. We have an obligation to safeguard the rights, the religion and the traditions of migrants fleeing persecution. Pope Francis, an outspoken advocate for greater European-wide participation in rescue efforts, reiterated in April his call for action during his July 2013 visit to the island of Lampedusa, and issued a “heartfelt appeal to the international community to react decisively and quickly to see to it that such tragedies are not repeated.” What is required is a global solution to this global crisis in order to tackle the root causes of forced migration.
Today I encourage parishes across the Diocese of Cloyne to pray for the thousands of refugees who are undertaking the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea on boats that are barely fit for purpose, for those who have perished in attempting to reach European shores and for those who are coming to the aid the refugees. I pray that they may find welcome and respect, through the intercession of Mary, who herself knows the pain of being a refugee.
· Bishop William Crean is Bishop of Cloyne and Chairman of Trócaire, the overseas aid agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
· The following prayers for migrants may be used by the faithful at Mass:
Prayer for Refugees and Victims of War
no one is a stranger to you
and no one is ever far from your loving care.
In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war,
those separated from their loved ones,
young people who are lost,
and those who have left home or who have run away from home.
Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be
and help us always to show your kindness
to strangers and to all in need
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Suggested Prayers of Intercession
Presider: Lord Jesus: Today you ask us to welcome into our hearts and lives those who have come to our shores to escape wars, poverty, oppression and violence. Grant us an open heart and mind, free of fear and doubt to welcome them into our communities.
For all those who have to leave their homes because of violence, poverty and corruption. May they find acceptance and understanding on their journey and be welcomed with Christian hospitality. We pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
For those who died seeking a better life, especially the thousands who died in the waters of the Mediterranean. May the Lord welcome them into his house and give comfort to their families. We pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.
Conclusion: Lord God, in faith we pray to you. Be near to us as we pray, and be close to us as we work in your service. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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